Guest blog on Out of the Storm: Parenting and the Legacy of Childhood Trauma

Janet is overwhelmed with a wave of revulsion and nausea every time she breastfeeds her child. Mateo feels guilty every time he changes his son’s diaper, as if he is doing something wrong. Han is filled with paralyzing anxiety every time her boys play-fight. What do these parents have in common? They are all parenting with ACEs.

Many research studies have now established how ACEs, or Adverse Childhood Experiences, negatively impact mental and physical health over a lifetime. The CDC-Kaiser Permanente ACE Study and subsequent surveys that show that most people in the U.S. have at least one ACE, and that people with four ACEs— including living with an alcoholic parent, racism, bullying, witnessing violence outside the home, physical abuse, and losing a parent to divorce — have a huge risk of adult onset of chronic health problems such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, suicide, and alcoholism. An ACE score of six or more can shorten your lifespan by up to 20 years.

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The question that is not being asked is, what happens when these survivors of childhood trauma grow up and have children of their own? Many survivors of childhood trauma are living with un-diagnosed PTSD that becomes un-manageable when they have kids of their own. These parents are blindsided by the sudden onset of flashbacks and triggers related to parenting. In the absence of information about this common occurrence, they are left feeling broken and alone….


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